Setting sail to Saga’s business transformation programme
72,000 sq ft
- Services Involved
Strategy & Design
Design & Build
Saga is a forward-thinking business aiming to create exceptional experiences every day – not only for their customers but for their staff too.
We partnered with Saga to support, shape and implement their business transformation programme, delivering an attractive destination that enables hybrid working.
Nailing down the real estate strategy
Saga is a specialist provider of products and services, including cruises and insurance, to people over 50. At the start of 2020, they were already embarking on a period of change, developing a solid, ten-year transformation strategy. We were appointed to review Saga’s real estate portfolio (including six buildings in and around Folkestone and one in London) and develop a rationalised strategy to move forward with.
After interviewing their executive team, to better understand their vision and the changing organisation, we made the suggestion to turn their seven locations into a three-location strategy. This meant focusing on Enbrook Park, creating a ‘hub’ in the centre of Folkestone, with two smaller sites (another in Folkestone and one in London).
The impact of COVID
During the pandemic, like most, Saga’s 2,500 employees moved to home-based working. Along with most organisations around the world, this experiment led Saga to consider hybrid working in a much more dramatic way.
Not only did this period stress-test the purpose of the office but it proved that they were able to work differently, attract talent from anywhere and even bring back retired people to work (who may empathise with their market sectors) by supporting part-time flexible hours.
While Enbrook Park was always going to be the hub for the organisation, the pandemic meant that we were able to accelerate the work we had already proposed. Our re-discovery sessions with Saga’s employees, senior managers and HR teams helped to give us a real sense of change, linking to new and increasingly more accepted flexible working practices.
Originally, we may have implemented a denser workstation model, predominantly for contact centre staff or for work that required stricter levels of control and process, like finance teams. However, the pandemic proved that even the contact centre teams could do much of their work from home.
We had to reimagine the purpose of Saga’s office. What our design teams developed was centred around celebration, iconic moments, collaboration, learning and training.
Bringing the outside in
The team took a lot of design inspiration from the outdoor landscape, capitalising on the spectacular views from the building (overlooking the English Channel). The palette uses Saga’s brand colourways while also incorporating colours and textures you can find around the local coastline. The building is very much about looking outwards, not looking in, creating a harmonious connection to the outside world and their service landscape (the sea!).
The impressive atrium space offers a real wow factor when employees and visitors first walk in, and the planting is an integral part of that design scheme. Not only does it purify the air, cool and manage the atmosphere, but it’s also important from a wellbeing perspective. We also used pebble furniture, acoustic birds and created better access to the dramatic floor to ceiling windows, making the most of the sea views.
Designing a destination
Saga wanted to create a destination that brought people together to collaborate and celebrate the organisation. They already had a great culture at Enbrook but wanted to produce a more immersive experience, break down silos and improve colleague connections.
Previously, employees had been working from rows of tight-knit fixed desks. We wanted to change how people worked and utilised the office going forward. The recreation of Enbrook Park still supports contact centre work but now also aids training, learning and face-to-face development. There are fewer desks and more dynamic spaces where employees can meet, connect, communicate and celebrate together.
In the auditorium, there is a large AV media screen (2m high x 3m wide), where employees can bring large groups of people together for town halls, hold events, share content and feel a part of the Saga family.
Saga also wanted to seriously consider the health and wellbeing of their employees and so we completely transformed the catering provision to incorporate a food counter, juice bar and dining area. Inspired by their cruise ship menus, they developed a high-end food offering, providing healthy options. It’s no longer just a place to eat, but an immersive Saga experience for employees and visitors.
Craig Murray, Strategy and Design Director at TSK, said: “It has been rewarding to support Saga’s leadership ambition as they have bravely turned pandemic challenges into a catalyst that has defined future capability through the alignment of colleague technology and property strategies to provide compelling customer experiences.”